“’For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’” Jeremiah 29:11
As the weeks continue to go by with this worldwide pandemic, I get messages from more and more of my friends telling me how hard they find it. Some have mentioned that things seem out of control. Others find it overwhelming. Quite a few are discouraged. It’s not just the pandemic—there is upheaval on many levels. I understand how difficult it is.
What if I were to tell you that there was a terrible time like this in America in the past? There was a pandemic in which 100,000+ people died in the U.S., and over one million (some say as many as four million) died around the world. Morality was on the decline. There was marching and protesting against racism, with accompanying violence and deaths. There was tremendous political upheaval with lots of anti-government sentiment. A friend who worked with us in Amsterdam recently shared about this and reminded me.
The year? 1968! It was the Hong Kong flu. Woodstock took place that year—no social distancing! Civil rights marches and protests against the Vietnam war were all over the country. It was a hard, painful, traumatic time!
And then, just a year later the Jesus Movement broke out. God started moving in remarkable ways. Over the next few years three million, mostly young people, radically came to Christ! This continued on into the 1970s and through to the turn of the century. Millions and millions came to know Jesus worldwide.
I’ve said a number of times in these updates that I wish I could see from God’s perspective into what is happening with the current pandemic. Now we also have a wave of protests all over the world. There is tremendous political tension in this election year in the U.S. How does God see all this? I truly don’t know.
But one thing I DO know: He’s at work in our world! He hasn’t thrown up His hands and said “what a mess!” No, He is working, moving, touching lives…He is listening attentively to each and every prayer we are lifting up. Someone said to me that it seems like God is unmoved by our prayers. I know that’s not the case. I know His heart. I know He is setting things in motion that we can’t see. I know He has good things in store for us. His Word promises that.
In the midst of hard times, it’s so important to keep our eyes on Him. It’s vital that we keep hope alive in our hearts. We must stand on the promises in His Word. We must lean into Him as our Rock and Refuge more than we ever have before.
I don’t know what’s ahead, but I know the One who holds that future in His hands. He is faithful and trustworthy. I’m holding tightly to His hand as I navigate these difficult days.
You’ve probably heard the saying “history repeats itself.” I’m hoping the history of the Jesus Movement/the Jesus Revival repeats itself—bigger and greater than last time. We are walking through some hard days, but I’m confident that God has good things in store for us.
Lord, we know You are at work right now even if we can’t see what You’re doing. Help us to keep leaning into Your strength and sustaining grace!